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Miserable Syrians in Jordan say they'd rather go home

Syrian refugees in Jordan say they are so miserable that they would rather face "inevitable death" in their war-torn country than live in conditions that have sparked riots. With Syria's war now in its fourth year, many of the 100,000 refugees in the sprawling desert Zaatari camp in northern Jordan feel the world has forgotten their struggle to survive. "Syrian refugees would rather go home and face inevitable death than swallow the bitterness of displacement," Abu Isam, 52, told AFP before his cousins and other refugees boarded a bus back to Syria.

Supreme Court to hear three people-smuggling cases, including Sun Sea appeals

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will hear three appeals in cases where people were denied refugee status because they were allegedly involved in people smuggling. Two of the cases involve an individual and a couple who were aboard the MV Sun Sea, which carried 492 Sri Lankan nationals to Canada in 2010. The arrival of two ships off the British Columbia coast led the Harper government to enact its so-called human smuggling law to discourage a repeat of the dramatic incidents.

Asylum-seeker registrations in Indonesia fall sharply

The number of asylum-seekers registering in Indonesia has fallen from around 100 a day to 100 a week in recent months, the UN said Thursday, as Australia implemented hardline policies aimed at deterring boatpeople. "There is a sharp decrease in the number of people seeking registration with the UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency)," said Manuel Jordao, the agency's country representative in Indonesia.

Syria refugees face growing challenges in Jordan urban areas

Syrian refugees in urban areas of Jordan are struggling to cope with inadequate housing, high debts, rising costs and educational challenges for their children, a global relief agency said Wednesday. CARE International said a household assessment of more than 2,200 Syrian refugees showed 90 percent of them were living in debt to relatives, landlords, shopkeepers and neighbours. The cost of rent for the refugees from the devastating three-year war in Syria had increased by almost a third in the past year, according to the CARE study.

UNHCR faults Cyprus on refugee protection

The UN refugee agency on Wednesday accused EU member Cyprus of failing to provide effective protection for displaced foreigners seeking sanctuary on the island. A new law on refugees, published Tuesday, "curtailed essential rights of forcibly displaced people who have sought sanctuary," said the local office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "We are disappointed that Cyprus has lowered down its standards when it comes to the protection of persons fleeing war and generalised violence," said Damtew Dessalegne, the UNHCR representative in Cyprus.

UN says some asylum seekers can now be sent back to Bulgaria

The UN's refugee agency said Tuesday it was partially lifting a call to stop returning asylum seekers to Bulgaria because conditions there had improved. Under current rules, European countries must return asylum seekers to the first country on the continent they arrive in. But in January the United Nations urged European nations to suspend all returns to Bulgaria, citing "systematic deficiencies in reception conditions and asylum procedures" after the country was swamped with refugees from war-ravaged Syria.

African soldiers help 1,000 Muslims flee CAfrica to Chad

African peacekeepers escorted more than 1,000 minority Muslims fleeing attacks by mainly Christian militias in the Central African Republic to neighbouring Chad, police told AFP on Saturday. "Not a single Muslim remains in Bossangoa," a police source said, referring to a northwestern town, adding that they left for Chad on Thursday. The refugees had gathered at a Koranic school and the Catholic Church's premises in Bossangoa, fearing for their lives if they stayed on in the town, he said.

Forces in Sudan could attack South Sudan refugee camp: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations warned on Friday that forces in Sudan could attack a refugee camp in South Sudan because it was being used by armed groups, an assault that would rekindle tensions between the oil-producing neighbors. An unidentified aircraft circled Yida camp, in South Sudan's border state Unity, this week, raising fears of a strike, Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists in Geneva.

Italy reports 900 migrants rescued at sea

Italy has rescued 896 migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat overnight, the navy said on Friday, after the government warned of an "emergency" caused by a surge in new arrivals. Three navy warships and two coast guard patrol boats took on the migrants in the Mediterranean and they were then transferred to other vessels and taken to ports in Sicily, the navy said in a statement. In Geneva, the UN refugee agency UNHCR estimated 6,000 people had been rescued by the Italian navy from over 40 overcrowded boats in the past four days.

Italy needs EU help to handle tide of refugees, U.N. says

GENEVA (Reuters) - An estimated 6,000 people, many of them Syrians and Eritreans, have been rescued by Italy's navy in four days and thousands more asylum seekers keen to reach Europe have gathered in Libya, the U.N. refugee agency on Friday. The UNHCR urged the European Union to help Italy provide more reception facilities and find "durable solutions" for asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution.
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